MSocSc Sustainability and Development Studies

Year of Entry


Application Deadline

Local & Non-local : 31 May 2024

Mode of Study


Mode of Funding


Indicative Intake Target


Minimum No. of Credits Required


Class Schedule

Weekdays (daytime and evenings)

Normal Study Period

Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years

Maximum Study Period

Full-time: 2.5 years; Part-time/Combined mode: 5 years

Mode of Processing

Applications are processed on a rolling basis. Review of applications will start before the deadline and continue until all places are filled. Early applications are therefore strongly encouraged.
Programme Leader & Admission Tutor
PhD, Public Policy, National University of Singapore
General Enquiries
+852 3442 6355
Programme Aims and Objectives

This programme is designed for:

Graduates from disciplines of relevance to Sustainability and Development Studies, including:

  • Asian Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Communications
  • East and Southeast Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • International Studies
  • Political Science
  • Public and Social Administration
  • Sociology, including Applied Sociology

Mid-career professionals working in sustainability and development-related fields, including: 

  • Government / Public Affairs
  • Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Business
  • Education
  • Environmental Management
  • International Organisations
  • Journalism / Mass Media
  • Public Relations

The programme caters to local students, as well as overseas students from both developed and developing countries, both within the region and elsewhere.

Entrance Requirements

To be eligible for admission, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements and have a Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline of the social sciences or in a humanities discipline relevant to development studies from a recognized tertiary institution or an equivalent qualification.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in other fields who possess advanced experience in relevant professions will also be considered.  A first degree in a social science or humanities subject would be an advantage.

One or more years of working experience in a development-related field would be an advantage. 

Applicants whose entrance qualification is obtained from an institution where the medium of instruction is not English should also fulfill the following minimum English proficiency requirements:

  • a score of 79 (Internet-based test) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)@#; or
  • an overall band score of 6.5 in International English Language Testing System (IELTS)@.
  • other equivalent qualifications.

@TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years. Applicants are required to provide their English test results obtained within the two years preceding the commencement of the University's application period. 

# Applicants are required to arrange with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send their TOEFL results directly to the University. The TOEFL institution code for CityU is 3401.

Course Description

Programme Core Courses (12 Credit Units)

  • Theories and Approaches in Development Studies
  • Sustainability Infrastructures and Measurements
  • Sustainable Development: Theories and Policy
  • Capstone Project or Master's Thesis

Stream Core Courses (15 Credit Units)

  1. Development Challenges Stream
  2. Sustainability Strategies and Policies Stream

Note: Depending on the availability of resources, the Department will decide which four courses will be offered for the Development Challenges Stream and the Sustainability Strategies and Policies Stream respectively at the beginning of each academic year.

All applicants are required to indicate their preferred study stream at the time of application. While the University tries to accommodate applicants' preference as far as possible, applicants’ allocation to their first choice is not guaranteed. The University reserves the right to suspend a study stream in case of under-enrolment.

Programme Electives (3 Credit Units)

  • Urban Design and Regional Planning History, Theory and Practice
  • Energy Management for Building Sustainability
  • Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Building Performance
  • Sustainable Building Development
  • Project Planning and Management for Development
  • Research Design for the Social Sciences
  • Women and Politics in Asia
  • Understanding and Managing Smart Cities
  • Environmental Governance in China
  • Evidence-based Policy and Practice


Bonus Features

Students will acquire the ability:

  • To undertake the analysis of current sustainability and development issues
  • To investigate practical problems using a comparative methodology
  • To plan, manage and monitor sustainability and development projects
  • To communicate and collaborate with partners from other countries
  • To apply acquired knowledge and skills in a variety of work settings

Sustainability and Development Studies is a relatively new and an increasingly important field of study. But prior to this programme at the City University of Hong Kong, it was not taught at all in Hong Kong.

Heads and officers of development agencies, including non-governmental organizations and other non-profit organizations, have publicly communicated their felt need for professional training in Sustainability and Development Studies.

The Programme Leader and other colleagues of the teaching team have ample research, teaching and working experience on a wide range of sustainability and development issues in various parts of Asia.

† Combined mode: Local students taking programmes in combined mode can attend full-time (12-18 credit units per semester) or part-time (no more than 11 credit units per semester) study in different semesters without seeking approval from the University. For non-local students, they will be admitted to these programmes for either full-time or part-time studies. Non-local students must maintain the required credit load for their full-time or part-time studies and any changes will require approval from the University.